Sure, money’s tight, but home improvements still aren’t completely stalled. Here’s what’s hot right now in bathroom remodels.
By Jennifer Kelly Geddes
Even though inflation has been sending prices soaring through the proverbial roof, homeowners are still willing to dig deep into their wallets to upgrade their bathrooms.
The 2022 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study polled more than 2,500 homeowners who renovated their bathrooms in July of this year. And the results shed some surprising light on what people are changing—and how much they’re paying.
Per the report, the national median spent for primary bathroom remodels increased nearly 13% this past year, to $9,000. But it’s the bigger projects that left our heads spinning. Higher-budget projects, at the top 10% of spending, leapt 17%, to $35,000!
Marine Sargsyan, Houzz staff economist, notes that bathrooms have always been popular renovation targets, so it’s not surprising that homeowners are “doubling down on their investment in these private sanctuaries.”
And inflation won’t scare someone who wants a swankier loo.
“While the cost of products and materials has increased due to inflation and supply chain disruptions, renovation activity remains strong, propped up by high home equity,” Sargsyan adds.
Curious about what your friends and neighbors are actually doing in (and to) their bathrooms? Here’s a peek at what’s trending now in these room renovations.
Way bigger showers
Photo by Restructure Studio
Shower upgrades have consistently been super popular—and the numbers kept climbing this year, to 84%, which is up two percentage points. And for those who removed their bathtubs, 78% of folks made the shower larger, often by 25%.
“Showers are more functional so more space makes sense,” says Khari Washington, a real estate broker with 1st United Realty in Riverside, CA.
“Plus, it’s a good move for resale since few buyers need a tub but most fall in love with extensive showers.”
And depending on the bathtub and showerhead specs, showers are better for water conservation, he adds.
Vanities get some love
Photo by Kimberly Demmy Design
A crummy-looking vanity can crater your bathroom’s look. That’s probably why better counter materials are trending, with engineered quartz on top (40%), along with natural stones like marble and granite (up 18% and 16%, respectively). And, just as in the kitchen, Shaker-style cabinetry is riding high with 51% of homeowners picking this style for their projects. That’s up seven points over last year.
Traditional is out, transitional is in
Photo by Ulrich Inc
“People are committed to making their homes work for them, including investing in bathroom renovations—and the No. 1 reason to redo this space is that homeowners could no longer stand the style,” says Sargsyan.
The bottom line: traditional is no longer in favor. Instead, transitional style is the front runner.
“Transitional takes trad flavoring and style to a cleaner, fresher and modern look,” says Jen Dallas of the eponymous design firm. Transitional design was chosen by 25% of respondents, with modern and farmhouse in the rear, at 16% and 5%.
Dallas also notes that “transitional rooms are great for resale value, as most people can picture themselves living in it or creating the home they want with this starting point.
“Transitional aims to create a room that’s less sterile-looking, which in a bath means clean, modern design but with trad touches like a claw-foot tub, vintage artwork and a bit of color on the walls using paint or tile,” explains Tony Mariotti, a real estate broker and founder of RubyHome in Los Angeles.
Bidets for the win
Photo by Glenn Robert Lym Architect
Once you go bidet, you never go back.
“A lot of clients love the Toto washlet and specify them in many of my projects,” Dallas says.
She echoes the Houzz report, which showed healthy increases in bidets (24%); self-cleaning seats (17%); heated seats (15%); and even built-in night lights (13%)—because who wants to stumble around in the wee hours?
White paint with blue accents
Photo by Kala Interior Design
White is still king on vanities, countertops and bathroom walls, as it signals a fresh, clean vibe. But gray walls both inside and outside the shower continue to have fans, at 25% and 15%, respectively. Blue is also a solid choice, per the report, with one in 10 homeowners picking it outside the shower.
Greenery to clean the air
Photo by Factor Design Build
We gardened with abandon during the pandemic—and we adopted plants inside too, which dovetails nicely with the uptick in greenery seen in bathrooms in 2022. Indeed, plants are the crowning touch for 35% of respondents once the dust has settled in their bathroom renos.
Wondering why? Most said aesthetics (88%), while others felt they created a calming environment (64%). Additional reasons included air purification (34%) and odor-fighting ability (7%).
Jennifer Kelly Geddes creates content for WhatToExpect.com, the National Sleep Foundation, American Airlines Vacations, Oxo, and Mastercard.